Old music gear is one of those rare forms of electronics that increase value with time. In the last 10 years the synthesizer market has grown dramatically, fueled by the growing interest in electronic and hip-hop music. Unfortunately most pawn shops and local music shops know this. The chance of finding something at a good price in one of those places is slim.
So where should you look? If you really care about getting a steal you need to find people that have no clue what they are selling. Most people will take a look at a piece of vintage music gear and consider it to be junk. It may have scratches or dents, it may be covered in dust and dirt. Someone's aunt or grandpa likely isn't going to know (or maybe even care) that the old dusty moog in the attic is worth hundreds of dollars.
Enter the garage sale. When most people hear the words garage sale they immediately think of old women, old clothes, and used toys. Why is this? It's because it's true for the most part. This is why its the perfect place to get your music gear. Reason one, most of the people selling don't know what they have. Two, nearly all of the other customers aren't interested. Three, the price will almost always be ridiculously cheap.
Happy hunting. Oh, and if you are shy about going to garage sales by yourself, ask your aunt or mother. They will probably enjoy spending the day bargain hunting for used lamp shades.
Some Brands To Look For:
Oberheim: These synthesizers are always good finds. They hold up well and there value keeps going up. If you find one of these cheap pick it up. Even if you aren't going to use it yourself. You will find someone interested. I promise.
Roland: Don't ask me why these synths are increasing in value. The only explanation that I can come up with is novelty. Roland has been used in the roots of house and hip-hop giving it a hardcore reputation it really doesn't deserve. Do you care? You should. Find anything roland at a flea market or garage sale and snag it. It's value won't necessarily be immediate, but neither was your Star Wars action figure collection.
Moog: This one is a no brainer. If you find a used working Moog at a price under $500 it's probably worth grabbing. Especially now that Robert Moog has passed away. These are the cream of the crop when it comes to valuable vintage synths. Do whatever it takes to get one of these if you can, including borrowing money from your father.
Korg: One of my personal favorite synthesizer manufacturers. Korg has made some of the strangest and most interesting machines of all time. Don't be scared by the alien appearance. A Korg synth will beep and click with the best of them. The value of a vintage Korg isn't as high as some of the other manufacturers. I think it's because they don't hold up as well. Find one that has been well loved and you will have yourself a sweet piece of musical history.
Find more info on synths and sound modules at Synth HQ. For general music production articles check out Audioracle To ask a specific question from some industry pros check out these Music Production Forums
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